Are You Struggling To Get A Grasp On Your Project?

I will start this post with a warning . . . this article focuses on project management!

Now that I have given you “fair warning,” how many project or portfolio managers struggle to get a grasp on the key indicators for their projects? These indicators give advance warning of pending problems or a heads up on an opportunity that you don’t want to miss.

There is so much information coming from so many directions it can be confusing and overwhelming. Yet we all know that if we don’t understand where our projects are at, it is next to impossible to finish them successfully!

While I was a business executive running a large engineering company, I sat through countless project reviews in many different countries all over the world. Through the experience I gained in these reviews, I was able to develop a one-page  summary that succinctly shows the status of a project.

For the purposes of this post, I will call it the Financial Update Tool. However, this report goes so much deeper than a financial report. The finances can be a gateway into the rest of the project so this report must be coupled with “common project sense” to drill down and ask some tough operational questions. See this post for more details on great questions for your projects.

So what does the Financial Update Tool look like?

How To Create A Powerful Newsletter And Why You Should Care

If your business does not issue a monthly newsletter, you are missing out on one of the easiest and most powerful ways to communicate to your employees!

A properly written newsletter can deliver timely and valuable information to employees in a consistent way that is hard to match with other types of media.

I have seen many examples of company newsletters over the years, from large oil companies to small engineering firms . . . from simple one pagers to monstrous 20+ pagers!

My favorite newsletter was one I received at a small employee owned organization. Although this one was not monthly, it did provide a great update on the company health, the money we were making, and where the business leaders thought we were headed.

What does a great newsletter look like and what are the benefits?

The Idea Book

My book review this week is The Idea Book by Fredrik Haren.

Haren has written this book in a format designed to generate ideas. There 60 creativity inspiring sections followed by an activity designed to tap into your creativity. The book has an additional 150 blank pages dispersed strategically throughout the book to be used to record your creative ideas. I have used this book for personal inspiration. I have also used some of the exercises in a team format to get brainstorming sessions kicked off and to get teams thinking outside of their proverbial boxes.

My takeaway from this book is that every person and every team needs some creative thinking exercises from time to time to restart and renew their creative thinking mechanisms. Taking the thinking exercises from this book are a great way to do this!

 

Note that I have previously reviewed the following books in 2018:

  1. Tim O’Reilly’s Whats the Future and Why Its Up to Us
  2. Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art
  3. Timothy Ferriss’ Tribe of Mentors
  4. Richard P. Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!
  5. Bernadette Jiwa’s Hunch
  6. Scott Galloway’s The Four
  7. William Mougayar’s The Business Blockchain

 


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Is Your Business More Like a Lamborghini or a Lada?

A Lada may get you from point A to point B (if you are lucky), but a Lamborghini is a highly tuned engineering marvel! Not only will it get you from point A to point B, it will do it quickly, efficiently, and in style! It is a thing of beauty!

Just like a Lamborghini, a finely tuned, high performance business is a beautiful thing!

Understanding what to monitor in your business to ensure that it is finely tuned and highly performing is not an easy task. As you can imagine, there are as many opinions on the definition of high performance as there are businesses. And for good reason.

The Most Hated Business Tool Ever!

The Dreaded Performance Assessment

The original intent of a performance assessment was sincere, inspiring, and productive. Unfortunately, over the years, the performance assessment has singlehandedly become one of the most hated tools ever created! It is discouraging if not damaging for employees and is the bane of existence for most people managers.

As leaders, we must strive to implement tools and processes into our businesses that boost personal development, productivity, and profitability rather than the opposite!

My Experience

I have seen many different versions of performance assessments over the years. Some were effective, some were not, and some were simply demoralizing!  I have seen some years where: